The reason

He took a swig from the cold can of cola I had lovingly placed beside the bowl of nuts, a mixture of roasted groundnuts and cashew nuts. I had been careful to select each nut carefully, checking to see that each was uniformly golden, with no burnt bits. He was very particular about his likes and dislikes, and I did not want to displease him. The cola had been chilled, but it was a hot day, the air conditioner had broken down, and condensation now ran down its metal sides in rivulets. He leant back into the warm embrace of his favourite sofa, belched, and further elaborated upon his theme.  

He loved the sound of his own voice, and I had loved it too, once upon a very distant time. I heard it from a distance as he explained that he could have had his pick of anyone to be the bearer of his name, but he had chosen me for that special honour. My friends had been concerned when we started dating, but they had soon learnt to keep their opinions to themselves, after he had confronted a couple of them about being jealous of our ‘special relationship’ as he called it. He had done it when there were no witnesses around, and it was their word against that of the charismatic fellowship leader.

He had been charming during our courtship, although sometimes in unguarded moments I had seen a darkness in his eyes that went beyond words. When we’d had a difference of opinions over the most mundane matters, I’d seen him clench his teeth together so hard his jaws seemed to be etched from stone, and then he’d laugh and say ‘you this girl sha, one day…’

My parents had never warmed to him even though they had always been courteous to him, especially after we had gotten married. They had expressed their reservations to me throughout our courtship, but had accepted in the end that it was my decision to make, my life to live. My inability to conceive was the main prayer point of the women’s group I headed in the church where he was now the pastor, I never let on to anyone that after he had beaten the third pregnancy out of me, I had vowed never to bring a child into his world and had taken steps to ensure this. When they prayed, I yelled ‘amen’ along with them.

I saw the pitying expressions in the eyes of the wives of our associate pastors, but we all pretended nothing was wrong. There was a period when I had to wear scarves to cover the choke marks on my neck, instead of asking why I was doing that in our hot climate, my church ladies had rushed out to buy similar scarves. And so we sat, and sweated, as we praised. When wives came to me seeking counsel about the abuse they suffered at the hands of their husbands, I listened sympathetically, and then told them to return home and pray until something happened. How could I fix them, when I too was broken?

I was a pharmacist. Or should I say I had been a pharmacist? He had made me stop work, saying that the Lord’s work was more important than the dispensing of any medication. My parents had tried to remonstrate with me, but all their words had fallen on deaf ears. I was determined to submit. To be the godly wife I knew I could be if I tried hard enough. The wife he deserved to have.

I came to as I realised he had stopped talking, and was crunching away noisily as he threw handfuls of nuts into his mouth. I wished he would choke to death. I wished he had beaten me hard enough to kill me. But not once did I ask myself #whyIstayed. 

http://england.shelter.org.uk/get_advice/homelessness/emergency_accommodation_if_homeless/womens_refuges 

http://www.refuge.org.uk/

 

 

 

Thanks for stopping by Smile.

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Posted in Fiction | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

back for good?

It’s been a minute. I left that comment a few minutes ago on Sting’s blog. To be specific, on a blog post about farts in an enclosed space. Not her farts, someone else’s. On a small airplane. You can read all about it here. I found it hilarious. I’d linked to it from Nuttyjay’s blog, where she wrote about aging milk. It was such an apt post, and I could relate to everything. Check it out here.

I’d have missed both those posts if I hadn’t been on hiatus from FB. More on that later, maybe. You all know I like food right? Well, age and food has been catching up on me, so I decided to try reclaim my midriff. For the past few weeks, I’ve been downing oatmeal smoothies

Stunnababez smoothie

Stunnababez smoothie

 

and eating bulgur wheat like in this Middle Eastern salad I made, called tabboulehwpid-IMAG1202_1.jpg

 

and I have tried to cut out added sugar from my diet. I say tried, because this afternoon, I succumbed to gari and epa (with sugar), something I’d been craving for weeks, and I still feel pleasantly full, and dazed, this a good six hours after ingesting said meal.

I’d like to exercise too, but I have to be very careful, because the last time the mood struck me, so did tendonitis as I displeased one of my bionic hips in the process,and boy, did that hurt. This time I’m taking it easy. I am always slightly tired after watching my Blast off Belly Fat video, so I know I am on the right track.

Last year, Nkem set me a target, to drive to my parents’ with only the girls for company, no T. I was supposed to achieve this by August, I didn’t. This year, I was able to go one better. In April or so, I drove all the way to Enfield and back, on my own. This is over an hour away from where I live, and was a major achievement for me. No longer for me the title of ‘postcode driver’.

My girls are fine, and so is T, I remain thankful to God always for blessing me with these ones.  

 

I never intended to stay away this long, thank you for stopping by Smile.

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Easy-peasy jambalaya

Jambalaya is a Louisiana Creole dish of Spanish and French influence, thus says Wikipedia. I’ll add that it is a one-pot rice dish, similar to jollof rice. It differs however in the method of preparation, and in the spices used. Authentic jambalaya uses the Cajun and Creole trinity of diced green bell peppers, onions, and celery in roughly equal quantities as its base, and can be as elaborate or as simple as you want. 

The first few times I made it, I used this recipe. It had a lot of ingredients, and was very  involved and time-consuming, but well worth the effort.  Here is a quicker, fairly simple version I made recently by adapting a bbcgoodfood.com recipe.

I tweaked it a bit, I’ll tell you how. To get a full list of ingredients though, you’ll have to go read on there. Cajun seasoning is vital to this dish. You can either buy this ready made from the shops, or you can make yours. I made a big batch at Christmas, and stored it in a takeaway pack in a ziplock bag.  You can find the recipe here. I added extra cayenne pepper as I like my food hot and spicy.

I had made some roast chicken drumsticks with carrots the previous day, so had some chicken left over.

Chicken and carrots

Chicken and carrots

I shredded this roughly, leaving the bones in for extra flavour. 

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I diced some onions and some red peppers.

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I had half a chorizo sausage left over from Christmas, so skinned and diced that too. From my freezer I got frozen shrimp stock, and frozen chopped celery.

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I lightly fried the onions,  cube of garlic (minced and frozen in ice cube trays) and celery for a few minutes, and then added the peppers and the chorizo as well as 2 tablespoons of Creole seasoning. I cooked this for about 5 minutes more, then added the rice and chicken, and stirred for a couple of minutes. I then emptied in two cans of chopped tomatoes, the shrimp stock, and a couple of chicken seasoning stock cubes, and enough water to cook the rice. I brought it to the boil, adjusted for salt, and then turned it right down , and left it.

It took about 30 minutes or so to cook, during which I stirred it a couple of times to ensure an even distribution of ingredients and to avoid burning at the bottom. I don’t like crunchy rice, so I cooked till done. And voilà.

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My crew liked it, it was relatively fuss-free, and took less than an hour. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

Posted in Cooking with Joxy | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

All about the One

A couple of weeks ago, I was sitting and minding my business when my phone rang. I glanced at the number, did not recognise it, and was about to ignore the call when I answered it on a whim.

It was Rohan, calling from a partner company of my mobile network carrier. I rarely ever entertain unsolicited calls from marketers, but I must have been in a mellow mood, so I listened to what he had to say. He offered me an upgrade on my existing phone. My contract had expired in February last year, but I loved my HTC Sensation to bits, and hadn’t seen anything else I was interested in, so had been content to carry on with my tariff out of contract.

Ah, my Sensation! That phone suffered. Dropped it numerous times on various surfaces. Dropped it into a pot of hot soapy water one day as I was gisting with T whilst washing dishes. Fished it out and still managed to explain what had happened before dismantling it to dry it out. It survived, and also survived going deep loo diving on a later occasion, again, unscathed. Very durable piece of kit that took great selfies pictures.

He reminded me how old my phone was, 3 years old next month, and how he could get me on a better value price plan with a new phone to boot. He asked what phone I’d like, I said it had to be an HTC. He offered me the HTC One mini for free, I checked with Mr Mobility over at mobility.ng to find out what the latest HTC phone was. His response was the HTC Desire 501 dual sim, but that it was a mid-range device and not as good as the mini. My curiosity was piqued, so I asked Rohan what other phone was available. He said the HTC One was another option, but it would cost me £156. I  was on Google at this point, so asked him to call back in a couple of hours while I thought over what to do.

I called T, who asked me to call my carrier direct to see what they could over me. Long story short, I did, and my the time Rohan called back, I had secured a new tariff with 4G, and an HTC One for £20. I politely explained that I no longer required his assistance, and he rang off shortly after.

My new phone arrived the day after. Most people I know would have been very excited to rip off the wrapping and start using their phone, but not me. I had determined that I was not going to use the phone until I had rooted and installed a new ROM on it, and that was where the drama started.

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It took me a week to get the phone to how I wanted it, and it was a long hard road. I’ll be going into the techy hows and wherefores on Mobility.ng in the near future, but this is why I did it.

Imagine getting a top of the range car. This car is capable of reaching incredible speeds, but it has come fitted with a speed limiter. You love the car, but you know it is capable of doing so much more. So you tinker about till you can remove the speed limiter and unleash the power within.

Or you buy this piece of yam from the market. And the seller says you are only supposed to boil it before eating. But you know you can also pound it, fry it, roast it, and make it into asaro. So you get your cook on and take your yam to its limits.

So that was what I did with my phone. Android 4.4, Sense 5.5 Android Revolution HD 41.0 by mike1986.

And I am in love all over again. I’ve been toying with the idea of having a food page on here. Not full on food blogging, but sharing pictures and recipes once in a while, including reviews of recipes on food blogs with links to them etc. The HTC One takes awesome pictures, and I discovered today that I can sign my pictures too using its inbuilt software. Expect to see some ‘Cooking with Joxy’ pictures soon.

Thanks for stopping by Smile.

Posted in Meet me | Tagged , , , , , , | 18 Comments

In with the new

2013 was quite a year. Highs and lows. This is a new year, and I have started as I mean to go along.

I have unfinished business from last year. I advise people to be tenacious, to pursue after what they want, not to give up. I am now taking my own advice.

I had a horrible experience with an airline last year. I started my pursuit for compensation, but lost impetus along the way due to this and that. I have sent an email to them this morning, I am back on track.

T is working on our heating. We haven’t had any hot water since the 7th of December. We’ve had to boil water on the hob for bathing etc. Our heating was disconnected on the 1st of this year so T could drain the system. I hope he’s able to get it all sorted today. Fortunately, we have had a rather mild winter, so things have not been unbearable.

I like cooking. I don’t cook nearly as much as I’d like to, this is an area I intend to work on this year. I admire food bloggers, because it is nowhere as easy as it looks. Not only do they have to cook the food, they also have to present it in an attractive way, as well as making the recipes accessible.

E1 made pancakes all by herself two days ago. From start to finish. I don’t like sharing my kitchen, so it is hard for me for step aside and let her have a go. So I stayed out of the kitchen and only came in when it was time for her to start frying. She did good.

I had a dream. A lot of people dream about chasing or being chased by their enemies. In my dream, I was eating amala in a buka in Ibadan. Amala with ewedu. The amala was not finger-burningly hot, neither was it feather-light the way I like it. I was also feeling guilty that I had gone all the way to Ibadan without getting in touch with Nike, my sister-friend. In my dream I resolved that the next time I had amala, I would have it with gbegiri and ewedu, and I would stay at Nike’s. Then I woke up.

The last time I was in Ibadan, Nike spoilt me rotten. Took me to her tailor to get outfits made. You all know how I like my clothes. Took me food shopping. The size of those snails! She is an amazing person who has achieved great things against overwhelming odds. I’ll do a whole post on her some day soon.

E2 had her first piano exam in December. She passed with two marks short of a merit. She did good.

E3 is reading. I had started to wonder at her seeming inability to distinguish between letters talk less of sounding them out. And now the girl is reading whatever she can lay her hands on. Right now, she is reading the Little Princess series. They are all in my bed as I type. E1 is reading Five Go Off To Camp,  E2, the Magic Folk Collection both by Enid Blyton, and E3 I Want My Potty by Tony Ross. And I can concentrate on my writing.

I have not made any resolutions this year. I am in good health, and I intend to get the best use out of every day I am privileged to see. Daz all.

I am thankful for life, for health, for T, and the E-crew. I am thankful for my family and my friends. And I am thankful for you my readers, for taking the time to see life through my eyes.

Happy 2014. May we all go farther than we did last year, by God’s grace. Amen.

Thanks for stopping by Smile.

Posted in Meet me | Tagged , , , , | 18 Comments

Evidence, of God’s care

As pregnancies go, it was uneventful. I had the occasional bouts of nausea, and sometimes had to sit bolt upright in the middle of the night as a wave of reflux threatened to choke me in my sleep. Nothing major.

All went well until my baby decided she liked it too much in my womb, and was still in there five days past my due date. I had gone in for a cervical sweep the week before, but she had probably dozed through that, ignoring us all.

I had a show that afternoon, and started thinking, okay, maybe this is it. A while later, I had pains in my tummy. They didn’t feel anything like what I’d heard contractions felt like, so I called big sis K who told me to get checked out at the hospital. T got home, and off we went. After taking my vitals etc, they determined that my baby was in distress, so they strapped monitors to my belly, and kept me in overnight, for observation they said.

I was okay through the night, but by the morning, I took a turn for the worse. Apparently I drifted in and out of conciousness and went into delirium. Everything happened in a blur, but I remember reeling out T’s mobile number as I was being wheeled into theatre for an emergency Caesarean section.

Baby came out, and had a low Apgar score, so was whisked away for attention. I think it took me a while to come round from the anaesthetic, but I eventually did to find T and my dear friend and birthing partner, Kemi, around my bed. Eventually my baby got handed to me. My little fighter, her stats had improved, and she didn’t need further observation. All was well with my world.

A day later, I woke up from sleep to hear my baby crying. I was disoriented and tried to reach her. I had a line in my arm through which I was being given an intravenous drip, and somehow, I fell off my bed ripping the line out in the process. My arm started to bleed, and I must have passed out.

I woke up in the High Dependency Unit, in all sorts of pain. I was rigged up to various lines and contraptions, but all I had eyes for was my baby, sleeping in a cot net to my bed. The nurse, Rosie, noticed I was awake, and came over to say hello. She explained that because I had been in a side room, it had been a while before I’d been found, and I’d lost some blood. A racking cough swept through me, but I halted it when I felt the pain from every stitch of my CS. My chest hurt, and it was hard to breathe. I’d contracted pneumonia, I was in a bad way.

Even though I wanted to breastfeed baby, I couldn’t because of the cocktail of antibiotics that was being pumped into my veins. So I had to give her bottles, all provided by the hospital, dinky little glass bottles of SMA Gold, and how she gulped them down!

Day after day, the medics came to see me, haematology consultants, obs & gynae, physiotherapists, .…the complications had arisen as a result of my genotype. I had been relatively healthy for years, and had not realised the need to disclose it, and as at that time, it wasn’t something that was routinely screened for. My bad.The highlight of my day was the evening, when T came in not only to see me, but to also to bath his daughter. The nurses had shown him how to once, and from that moment he had carried on unassisted. This is a tradition that carried on till she was about a year old. I probably bathed her about four times in that whole period.

I was eased off the cocktail of drugs gradually, and was eventaully able to breastfeed my baby. I’d completely lost my appetite though, and just couldn’t eat anything, so I was put on a liquid food supplement. Different flavours, for breakfast, lunch and dinner. After almost two weeks, I was well enough to sit up and begin to move around, and then I discovered that I couldn’t. My legs seemed to forgotten how to, and they just wouldn’t move. Cue further physiotherapy, this time with a zimmer frame. I literally had to learn how to walk again, and eventually I was discharged.

I was so glad to be back home, my mum was delighted to spend time with her granddaughter that was not regulated by visiting hours, and T, he was over the moon. Mum tried to coax me to eat, but my appetite was still on exile. Then the midwife visited, and said since I was breastfeeding, if my body didn’t get enough nutrients, it would begin to convert my bones into milk for the baby. Something along those lines. I believed her, and my appetite returned. I started eating.

A few days later, I felt pains in my chest, and that evening, I was back in hospital again. I remember lying on a stretcher type bed in A&E as this male doctor tried to take my blood. Saddam Hussain was all the rage then and I nicknamed the unsuspecting doctor the Butcher of Baghdad as he rummaged around in my veins unsuccessfully. The verdict came, the chest infection had reoccurred, and I had to be admitted again.

I told all who would listen that I wasn’t going in without my baby, so we eventually got admitted together. It was back to the HDU for both of us, but this time it was better. I could talk and walk, I recovered faster. Come Christmas day I was in a side room with T and our baby. Our first Christmas together. I was discharged a few days after that.

I remember one of the doctors who came in to see me in that room. She told me she had had to fight hard for me, she had nearly lost me, and I had to take of myself, if not for me, for my baby. She emphasized the need for me to wrap up warmly at all times, and to keep even my head covered. I will never forget her words.

The treatment I got from the NHS was amazing. Totally out of this world, and I remain eternally grateful.

And now my baby is 10 years old today. E1, the child of my not so young age. My darling daughter who has been blessed with a maturity far beyond her years. My daughter, who quietly excels in all she does. Whose infectious high pitched giggle delights the hearts of all who hear it. I love you darling, you were and are worth it all.

My thanks go to God, the Sustainer of life, He who fought for me when I did not know I was in a battle, He who overlooked my ignorant mistakes and still had my back.

Lord Jesus, she is the evidence of your care towards me, towards her, towards us, just as her name declares. May she live her days in fullness to the glory of your name. Thank you Jesus.

And to you dear readers, thank you for stopping by to go down memory lane with me. For those of you that desire to be mothers, may God answer your prayers in due season, in Jesus name. Amen.

I’ll have this song on repeat all day….My God is awesome! 😀

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_YJ4vddbJJo

Posted in Meet me | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 28 Comments

Party lottery?

Very short post.

E2 got invited to a party yesterday.

‘Mama, it’s on a Sunday’ she tells me. I haven’t looked at the invitation yet, but the reply trips off my tongue easily.

‘Sorry, you can’t go. We’ll be going to church.’

‘Okay mama’ she says, and wanders off.

A while later, I glance at the invitation, and I have to rub my eyes as I reread it.

There’s a note attached to it. It says all 17 members of her class have been invited, but the venue can only sit 12. So the first 12 to respond will get to go.

Seriously? How do you explain this to a child? Oh, I didn’t dial fast enough so you won’t get to go to the party?

The note did go on to say hopefully not all invited would attend or words to that effect, but I still don’t get it.

Maybe this is perfectly normal and acceptable, but me, I just don’t get it. 

What are your thoughts?

Thanks for stopping by Smile.

p.s Even if we had nowhere else to go on the day, I’d have declined the invitation. On principle. As it is, I’m not going to dignify it with a reply. Like my people say, we are not being suffered for partiesto that extent in our house. Iya party o je wa to yen ni ile wa. 

Posted in random | Tagged | 11 Comments